Posted in Chinese Traditional Culture, dessert

Does fortune cookie come from China?

In the U.S., a lot of Chinese restaurants serve fortune cookies as dessert after meals.  Fortune cookies are usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and some sesame oil with a piece of paper inside.

The message inside usually contains some inspirational phrases or some lucky numbers. Fortune cookies seems common in the U.S. but they are absent in China. There is no clear evidence to prove that fortune cookies are from China.


The only Chinese legend I can find that relevant to  fortune cookies that is the Ming revolution in ancient China.  Way back in 13th and 14th Centuries, China was occupied by the Mongols. Chu Yuan Chang, a patriotic revolutionary of the time made plans for an uprising against the Mongols. In order to instruct all the Chinese of the date of the uprising, messages were hidden in ‘Moon Cakes’. Moon Cakes contained a ‘yolk’ of Lotus Paste which the Mongols did not appreciate so this yolk was replaced with rice paper messages. The uprising was successful and the Ming Dynasty was born. (for visit more:

Except for this, I barely can find the proof that points out fortune cookies are from China.

Thus, Fortune cookie is a typical American Chinese restaurants’deserts but they barely exist in restaurants in China.



An advertising major student who works in Chinese restaurant for three years.